Meet Regina Coles
Need help submitting a research proposal? Drafting a project budget? Understanding the latest compliance policy? Regina Coles is the person to see.
As the director of sponsored programs in the Dean’s Office, Regina handles it all. And her to-do list is long: fielding questions from investigators, creating budgets, reviewing and editing proposal documents, approving proposals for the College, preparing requests to sponsors and administrative actions, communicating with collaborating institutions, updating internal guidance and processes … and a whole lot of troubleshooting. “Every day is different; I guess it’s a good thing that I like variety,” jokes Regina.
Regina joined VCU in 2012 when she was hired by Danielle Dick, Ph.D. (currently in the Department of Psychology) as a project coordinator. In 2016, Regina transitioned to a position in the sponsored programs office. “This seemed like a natural transition as I had spent 14+ years working closely with various faculty investigators submitting proposals, managing their awards and administering related programs,” she says.
Over the years, Regina has continued to hone her skills in research administration. She received her master's degree in psychology from Villanova University and a graduate certificate in research administration from the University of Central Florida. She also earned her Certified Research Administrator certification, a recognized hallmark in the field.
And if you speak to any of her colleagues, you’ll quickly learn that Regina is an invaluable asset in the Dean’s Office. “One of Regina’s many amazing qualities is that she never gets frustrated or flustered,” says Joshua Langberg, Ph.D., associate dean for research. “In case you haven’t noticed, we faculty can be a demanding bunch. This tendency is significantly exacerbated in the context of grant submissions and management where everything operates on a tight timeline and under firm deadlines. Missing a submission deadline or a progress report or violating an agency policy can mean the loss of millions of dollars. Regina handles it all with grace, patience and understanding.”
These days, Regina is running the sponsored research office from her home, as everyone adjusts to life with COVID-19. That doesn’t mean her to-do list has gotten any shorter. “There have been so many rapid changes to research operations and sponsor guidance in the past six weeks. I am doing my best to stay on top of it all,” she says.